“Knowledge is Power”
The earliest known occurrence of this is from Francis Bacon, although there are anonymous references earlier in the Middle East Arabia and Persia, and was more in reference to the power of God as being wise and powerful because wisdom is power which is the actual translation of Scientia potentia est. And this power was limited, at the time to those only who could either afford education or those who read. So this sort of powerful knowledge wasn’t held by everyone.
This got me to thinking if today knowledge were perceived as limited, it would certainly gain a lot more power. It does to a certain extent, but it is very discriminating how we apportion out that empowerment. A doctor’s knowledge seems to have more power than a plumber’s, but both are just as necessary (and sometimes more sanitary – not that doctor’s aren’t sanitary, but they can’t always fix a non-flushing watercloset!!!)
But if we were limited in the amount of knowledge that was available to us, what would you want to know most….
Here’s the thing – the big come-on for sewing has always been two things: 1.) the value in terms of resources (time and money), and 2.) you get more what you want than anything you could buy (unless you’ve the luck of a leprechaun!) But 1/2 of that appealing facet of sewing has been corrupted. We’re told today that we can buy something for 10% or less of what we can make it for. The corruption comes from the fact that it’s worth 5% of what a garment would be worth that you make. That means you pay 10% but get 5% of what you had before! In other words, you’re comparing freshly picked lettuce to wilted lettuce. Sure the wilted lettuce is cheaper, and even if it has been shot with preservatives and looks about the same, you’ll have to eat it immediately because it goes bad quickly.
Comparing sewn garments to value-made garments is much more realistic. But there’s a problem here too. Where do you find those value-made garments? About the only place is either at a state fair winner category, or on the couture streets of fashion metropolises like New York, London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. Well, that’s accessible to everyone isn’t it?…..NOT!!!! So where do we get at least a modicum of information about value-made clothing. It’s hard. Sometimes you might catch a piece or two in an upscale boutique or from some well-known trunk shows like Worth or Doncaster, or maybe, if you’re lucky, an item or two at an upscale department store like Neiman’s, Barneys New York or Bergdorf Goodman’s, but the truth is, it’s just about non-existent.
To be honest, you’ll have to check out someone who makes their own clothing to see what a well-made garment looks like.
The problem is not what’s made available to us. The problem is knowledge. The knowledge of finely made clothing has been taken away from the consumer. Knowledge like this is considered…..well, to be frank about it: worthless. Going back to the questions above – can you answer them?
Believe it or not all of these questions can be answered yes if you know how to sew. You may not use sewing as a main tool for stocking your wardrobe, but the knowledge of sewing can give you tremendous power in buying and editing and selecting replacements for your wardrobe.
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